Nothing says “summer time” like a trip to the beach. I’ve spent my whole life making beach trips (only during warm weather, because I’m not crazy). When we head out on a beach trip, we try and keep it simple. This is my strategy that helps make every coastal outing into an epic beach trip.
Tips for an Epic Beach Trip
Now that my kids are 5 and 7, they don’t need as much help – or as much stuff!- for a trip to the beach. My tips for a fantastic beach trip with small children are a little different, but the goal is the same: Don’t make it a huge chore for yourself!
Keep it Simple
Don’t overpack. Maybe every now and then, for a bonfire or something, take the plastic folding table and the portable mini grill. But if you’re just going on a family day trip, you don’t need much. It’s the beach. The fun is built-in. You don’t need a whole lot else.
What We Bring for an Epic Beach trip
Sunscreen. Because a beach trip is not epic if your sunburn is too. We bring the spray-on kind and repeat frequently, since it’s not the most reliable stuff.
Drinking Water. We pop some water bottles in the freezer in the morning before we leave and they stay chilly as long as we keep them in our bag in the shade.
Beach Bags. This is the only thing I bring that could be a little extra. We bring 2 totes to the beach: One is a mesh bag that I’ve had for years (still on Amazon, which tells you how great it is!) and I love that I can just shake the sand out of it. This is where I put sand toys/bowls 😉 , maybe a bag of chips, some fruit snacks or granola bars, sunscreen, keys, and towels. I can fit 5 folded towels in this bag! The other bag I bring is an insulated tote for waters, sandwiches, cut fruit, and anything else that I want kept cool and away from sand.
Umbrella. Just one. To cover me and the snacks. #sorrynotsorry I’m the one keeping you all safe and sunscreen up and I don’t like sitting in the sun all day. If you have to bring a second umbrella to share the shade, at least they’re not big and bulky. At least not the ones I bring. 🙂
Snacks. We usually bring a bag of chips, fruit, whatever else is in the cupboard. Smuckers Uncrustables are good for beach trips too because you just toss them in your tote bag, no prep required!
Towels. Just one per person. No big picnic blanket, no plastic tarp. Just a couple towels.
Cash, quarters & a debit card. Some of our beach parking lots still use meters that only take quarters. So old school, right? And not all the time, but every once in a while, we grab an ice cream by the pier. You never know if the beachside vendors will be able to take debit cards, so we bring cash as a backup. Lastly, here’s your friendly warning to avoid the tourist shops, my friend. You will be lured in by their cute beachy tees, but they’re always way overpriced!
Our Boogie Boards. Which we will only bring if the kids agree to carry their own because I am not a pack mule. My 7yo girls like to boogie board but the 5yo is still learning. If he brings his board, I will stand in the water with him and give him a push when a wave comes.
3 small plastic bowls. Hear me out. Gone are the days when we used to bring a garden shovel and dig a hole for the little tykes to splash around in. I also don’t want to lug a sack of sand toys on our beach trip (because you know mom will end up carrying them!), but I will admit that it’s much easier to play when you have some tools. We bring a couple of small cereal bowls that the kids can use to carry water and scoop sand, and they’re pretty happy with that. Remember-having an epic beach trip is all about keeping things simple!
Even if you’re a long-time beach person, it’s still a pretty big job to get everyone ready and out the door. If you give yourself permission to not take everything but the kitchen sink, you’ll be more likely to have an epic beach trip with your family!